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Thread: Nutrition

  1. #1
    Senior Member Daveyboy's Avatar
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    Nutrition

    After reading the threads here I understand the general rule of nutrition during a ride is 250 or so calories per hour. Does it matter when the calories are eaten? Do they have to be eaten while riding - if so, would you typically count a pre-ride meal in your total calorie count? Also, at my weight & height (6'5" 230) should I be eating/drinking more?

    I rode 3' 18" (56 1/2 miles) yesterday and thought I was eating and drinking enough, but started to feel really heavy legs the last 6 or so miles (the last 8 or so miles had a few decent hills).

    Just before the ride I ate a big bowl of decent cereal. After about an hour I nibbled on a cliff bar over the next hour and 1/2. In the last hour I started with a gel, and drank about 20 oz. of gatorade. I also drank about 2 - 20oz bottles of water in addition to the gatorade. So, total calories over the last 2 1/2 hours was about 430.

    Did I under-eat? I am trying to lose a few lbs. and so may have been erring on the low side for nutrition, but maybe I cut it to close?

    Any thoughts would be appreciated as I am somewhat new to these longer distance rides.

  2. #2
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    IMHO that's a short enough ride that you probably just started to get tired. I can ride pretty well for about 2 hours on no food at all, but then I'm toast. So you under ate a bit, no big deal. It will become a big deal as your mileage increases.

    I believe the 250 cal/hr thing is for average riders, so maybe you should eat more. The rule is actually about how fast you can empty your stomach. Most folks can't get rid of more than 250 cal/hr. If one eats too much, one bloats up, the stomach stops emptying, and one starts to bonk from too much food rather than too little. I'd guess you're so big that you can probably do more food than that. You'll just have to experiment. Every one is different - thankfully.

    I don't count the "before" food, because I try to eat my last food 2-3 hours before riding. Eating right before can cause a blood sugar crash. If you do like I do, your blood sugar levels will tend to stay more even.

  3. #3
    seattle based cyclist merlinman's Avatar
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    I'm in agreement - I think you underate and mistimed it. Try ading some sort of powdered stuff to your water that adds calories - I use HEED because it is malodextrin and doesn't taste like sugar and doesn;t use High Fructose Corn Syrup (which I avoid on principle and in taste). But there are other products out there.
    Andiamo!!

  4. #4
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    You probably burn approx. 500 calories per hour on the bicycle ... maybe a bit more if you weigh more and if you ride hard.

    Therefore you could consume 500 calories per hour ... but your body may have a tough time digesting all that.

    Your body can digest 250 calories per hour, and possibly a bit more depending on the speed you ride and how good your body is at digesting stuff. I can consume up around 350 calories per hour when I'm feeling good and not riding too hard.

    As for when I eat ... I count whatever I eat just before my ride because that is in my system when I start the ride (and I don't eat much before the ride). Then I start eating almost immediately when I start riding. I have a couple granola bars or cookies or TimBits or something in my bento bag, and I nibble all the way through the ride.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Daveyboy
    After reading the threads here I understand the general rule of nutrition during a ride is 250 or so calories per hour. Does it matter when the calories are eaten? Do they have to be eaten while riding - if so, would you typically count a pre-ride meal in your total calorie count? Also, at my weight & height (6'5" 230) should I be eating/drinking more?

    I rode 3' 18" (56 1/2 miles) yesterday and thought I was eating and drinking enough, but started to feel really heavy legs the last 6 or so miles (the last 8 or so miles had a few decent hills).

    Just before the ride I ate a big bowl of decent cereal. After about an hour I nibbled on a cliff bar over the next hour and 1/2. In the last hour I started with a gel, and drank about 20 oz. of gatorade. I also drank about 2 - 20oz bottles of water in addition to the gatorade. So, total calories over the last 2 1/2 hours was about 430.

    Did I under-eat? I am trying to lose a few lbs. and so may have been erring on the low side for nutrition, but maybe I cut it to close?

    Any thoughts would be appreciated as I am somewhat new to these longer distance rides.
    A few thoughts:

    1) A big bowl of cereal right before the ride isn't the best choice. You generally don't want anything significant in the two hours before a ride, though you can cheat a bit if you're willing to start out slowly.

    2) You are pretty close on the calories, but it would be better to space them out more. I like clif bars a couple of hours before the workout, but I don't do that well with them when I'm riding (I prefer newtons). A constant trickle of calories is a lot better than chunks.

    3) 20oz of gatorade may be enough for the fructose to upset your stomach. Most people have better luck with a real hydration drink. You will likely have to try several kinds and flavors to get one that works.

    4) If that's a long distance for you, it's not surprising you had heavy legs at the end of the ride.

    5) I like endurox as a recovery drink - it keeps me from eating too much after a ride.
    Eric

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  6. #6
    Senior Member Daveyboy's Avatar
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    Nutrition

    Thanks all for the advice, I appreciate it. I guess I won't be loading up on the french toast or pancakes right before the ride anymore either. Fig newtons - hmmm, now there's a thought, they would certainly be easier to chew and swallow than the clif bars. Last summer when I started cycling again, I tried the powerbars but didn't care for them that much - to chewy and sugary.

    I double checked the gatorade and for a 20 oz bottle, it seems that there's only 100 calories, so that may not be the best choice for energy, but I thought it would at least replace some of the lost sodium and potassium. (something to prevent cramping)

    Time to check into some other liquids also. I am trying to work up the mileage for the STP this year. But it's going to be tough the next 6-8 weeks as I have two boys in little league (but I don't mind, the boys come first.)

    BTW, has anyone ever heard of 'Countdown' sports recovery drink? I've been drinking that after every ride and it's supposed to help replace muscle glycogen and also provide some protein. The GNC was closing them out last fall, so I loaded up on a few of the canisters.

  7. #7
    Member chrispatoz's Avatar
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    I use Perpetuem from Hammer Nutrition for long rides (160km+) and find it very useful. It actually tastes like food and isnt sweet which is horrible in a drink that isnt ice cold (for me at least). I plan the bottles a bit and vary the concentration and drinking rate accordingly along with plain water. I use a combination of camelback and bottles and sip perpetuem and have a drink of water at the same time. This has worked well for me so far....
    Chris
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